The central areas of Palermo
The Mandamento Kalsa, also known as Tribunali, is the most extensive of the four neighbourhoods that make up the Palermo old town and came about due to the fusion of the larger Sicilian Arabic quarter, La Kalsa, with the Tribunales area. It is located near the port and is perhaps the most authentic and picturesque of neighbourhoods in Palermo. Staying in la Kalsa means you can soak up all of Palermo´s rich history, which is laid out like an open book for your eyes to revel in. Bursting with impressive churches, medieval buildings with beautifully striking facades, palaces, tiny streets, eye-catching squares, museums and antique shops, the area offers you the chance to explore the beauty of past centuries and enjoy the abundant pedestrian areas. 20 years ago it was considered to be an unsafe neighbourhood, but it is now a very trendy area, full of charming hotels, restaurants and bars.
There is a wide array of gastronomic offering in La Kalsa, boasting many taverns where you can enjoy a glass of prosecco or taste some delicious typical Sicilian dishes. What´s more, in summer, the neighbourhood welcomes an annual festival showcasing artistic light displays around its historic streets, which are shut off and pedestrianized until midnight for around 8 warm summer months a year.
The area of Castellammare, set around the Vucciria market, can be found adjacent to the La Cala, the old port of Palermo, where artisans and Almafi, Catalan, Genovese, Pisan and Venetian traders have had there lodges since the XII century. You will find many beautiful buildings in this area, such as the Palazzo Mazzarino, or the Gravina Filangeri Palace, and close by you can also explore a plethora of historical monuments located in the neighbouring areas of La Kalsa and Monte di Pietá.
Monte di Pietà
At the heart of the old town, the Monte di Pietá, also known as the Seralcadio, is plagued with emblematic monuments and buildings such as the Palermo Cathedral, the Diocesiano Museum, the Branciforte Palazzo, and the Massimo and Porta Carinni theatres. The neighbourhood is also known among locals as the II Capo, due to the neighbourhood´s bustling market which shares the same name.
Albergheria is a popular neighbourhood where the magnificent buildings which line the Maqueda Via, such as the Santa Crocce Palace, contrast against the small streets, which still bear the mark of the Second World War bombings. In this area you will find the university, the Ballarò Market, the Palazzo Reale and many other beautiful monuments such as the Casa Professa Church, which has a spectacular interior. The northwestern area of Albergheria is also delimited by two of the most beautiful buildings in the city: San Giovanni degli Eremiti and the Royal Palace of Palermo.
If you´d prefer to stay in an area which is a bit further out from the hustle and bustle of Palermo´s old town and the hoards of tourists, the hotels located in Borgo Vecchio are normally the quietest, although you do need to bare in mind that this area is a bit more rundown and not quite as safe as the others. Although it´s not too far from the Politeama and Libertà areas with their prestigious Art Nouveau buildings, Borgo Vecchio is a district which suffers from very high unemployment levels and a low school enrolment rate, giving rise to a problem of organized crime.